Meta will take legal heat from Andrew Forrest in the US

The billionaire’s name and imagery were involved in a mass crypto scam campaign facilitated by Facebook, owned by Meta Platforms

Andrew Forrest, a well-known crypto investor and billionaire and CEO of Fortescue Metals, is taking the fight to Meta Platforms, after his case was heard by a US judge who sided with the plaintiff and decided not to end the case against the defendant, which may now proceed.

Forrest’s name was involved in a crypto scam that took place on Facebook through an aggressive ads push that saw more than 1,000 ads show on Australian Facebook users’ feeds between April and November 2023. Unwitting investors followed the ads and invested in the crypto scam, leaving them on the hook for millions of dollars.

Forrest found out about the scam after he was publicly called out for perpetuating the scam, but denied any knowledge that this was indeed happening. Responding to the reputation damage he had suffered, Forrest decided that he would sue Meta Platforms.

US district judge Casey Pitts has ruled that the case may carry on as Forrest tries to prove that Meta has been negligent in the way it had allowed fraudulent adverts, using the image of Australia’s second richest person to solicit investors’ money. Pitts added:

“Dr. Forrest claims that Meta profited more from ads that included his likeness than it would have if the ads had not. This is enough to adequately plead that the alleged misappropriation was to Meta's advantage.”

Forrest insists that Meta Platforms had failed to operate in a “commercially reasonable manner” which has led to the scam perpetuated with the aid of the platform, he alleges. He is now looking for compensatory and punitive damages and is going to work with the courts to prove that his name and likeness were misappropriated by Meta Platforms, even though the platform did not personally orchestrate the fraud.

According to Forrest, its failure to distinguish the work of fraudsters was already enough reason to pursue the case. This is also a small victory for Forrest who tried to  bring a similar case against Meta Platforms in Australia but was ultimately denied.

Meta has not responded to the case publicly. Earlier this year, another billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, launched a similar case against Meta Platforms for failure to protect the use of his name and image.  

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Written by Barney


Barney is co-founder of When not at work he can usually be found behind a Nikon. He's won numerous international competitions for his photography and volunteers as a content creator for aid organisations in Africa.